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During his residence abroad, he invented a new system of ciphers, which he afterwards incorporated into the first part of his Instauration. It appears, too, that even at this early period of his life, Bacon was actively employed in examining the phenomena of Nature, and, in particular, of Sound ;-a subject not even yet exhausted, and in the investigation of which, some of our most eminent philosophers are now engaged. *
See sir John Herschel's Treatise on Sound, printed in the Encyclopædia Metropolitana. This distinguished philosopher observes, that Bacon was one of the first who made the nature and laws of Acoustics a matter of experimental inquiry.—Herschel on Natural Philosophy, p. 248. “Whoever,' said the late sir James Mackintosh, “is desirous of estimating the value of knowledge, will find the noblest observations on that grand subject, which have been made since Bacon, in Mr. Herschel's Discourse on Natural Philosophy,-the finest work of philosophical genius which this age has
In reading it, a momentary regret may sometimes pass through the fancy, that the author of the Novum Organum could not see the wonderful fruits of his labour in two centuries.'-Hist. of England, vol. 2 p. 132, note.
That he had the justest notions on this niost interesting and important branch of .science, abundantly appears from many passages in his Sylva Sylvarum, among which we may notice his explanation of the phenomenon of echoes upon echoes,* which he correctly ascribed to the reflection of soundnot echoes from several places, but a tossing of the voice, as a ball to and fro;'† and it appears (a fact which has not, we believe,
* Bacon's Works, vol. 4, pp. 128, 129.
+ The Poet's description is as just as it is beautiful
“The Rock, like something starting from a sleep,
been ever noticed before, that, in this country at least, Bacon was the first to suggest the construction of the instrument, since called the ear-trumpet, but to which he gave the name of ear-spectacle.'*
These pursuits, so congenial to his mind, the sudden death of his fathert compelled
* The following are Bacon's own words:- Let it be tried, for the help of the hearing, and I conceive it likely to succeed, to make an instrument like a tunnel, the narrow part whereof may be of the bigness of the hole of the ear, and the broader end much larger, like a bell at the skirts, and the length half a foot or more. And let the narrow end of it be set close to the ear; and mark whether any sound, abroad in the open air, will not be heard distinctly from farther distance, than without that instrument, being, as it were, an ear-spectacle.'-Bacon's Works, vol. 4, p. 139.
+ Sir Nicholas Bacon died on the 20th February, 1578-9, and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. (Camden's Brit. vol. 1, p. 315.) “I remember,' said lord Bacon, that being in Paris, and my father dying in London, two or three days before my father's death, I had a dream, which I told to divers English gentlemen, that
my father's house in the country was plastered all over with black mortar.'—Works, vol. 4, p. 526.
him, for the present, to relinquish; and the young philosopher immediately returned to England.
Finding, on his arrival, that his patrimony was too scanty for his support, (* for my father,' said Bacon,* though I think I had greatest part in his love to all his children, yet, in his wisdom, served me in as a last comer;') he endeavoured, under the countenance of his uncle, lord Burleigh, to obtain some employment at court. His suit, however, was rejected; and with great reluctance, he entered upon the study of the law. It was about the year 1580 that he became a fellow of Gray's Inn,-a place to which he was always fondly attached. In the walks of its spacious garden, he caused to be planted an avenue of elms, substituting, as occasion required, new plants for those that decayed.t In these tranquil occupations Bacon took great delight, finding, as he himself says, that a garden yielded not only the purest of human pleasures, but afforded the greatest refreshment to the mind. How exquisitely beautiful is his remark, that the breath of flowers is far sweeter in the air, where it comes and goes, like the warbling of music, than in the hand!'* Besides improving the garden of Gray's Inn, he also ‘erected,' says Dr. Rawley, 'that elegant pile or structure, commonly known by the name of the lord Bacon's lodgings, which he inhabited, by turns, the most part of his life.' In which house, adds his worthy chaplain, he carried himself with such sweetness and generosity, that he was much revered and loved by the readers and gentlemen of the Inn."
* Bacon's Works, vol. 13, p. 87. + Dugdale's Orig. Jurid. p. 273.
* Essay on Gardening, vol. 1, p. 154. In his Sylva Sylvarum, he says, “Gentlewomen may do themselves much good by kneeling upon a cushion and weeding. I knew a great man that lived long, who had a clean clod of earth brought to him every morning as he sat in his bed, and he would hold his head over it a good pretty while.'—Bacon's Works, vol. 4, p. 500.
† Rawley's Life of Bacon. There is a tradition that